Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Numbers keep going up, but that's not the only change

In a press release issued yesterday, the Chief Judge's Office announced that another five employees and two residents of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center had tested positive for COVID-19.

As of yesterday, then, "a total of 149 employees working under the auspices of the Office of the Chief Judge have tested positive for COVID-19, plus eight judges. This is out of a total of about 2,600 employees and 400 judges. The staff cases include 64 JTDC employees, plus 49 JTDC residents."

That works out to about six percent of the Chief Judge's workforce and two percent of the judges. But that's three more judges and 34 more employees in the Chief Judge's Office who have 'caught the Covid' since I last reported numbers here, on October 25.

Meanwhile... the State as a whole reports new record numbers of COVID-19 case nearly every day. On October 25 it seemed alarming that the State had reported 6,161 new cases.

That's not even half of the 12,623 cases that the State reported yesterday.

But the State is reporting figures differently now.

I first found out about this in a Tweet from @CWBChicago...

(I don't think @CWBChicago is looking to reposition itself as a go-to health news cite, but when I actually can remember where I stumbled across useful information, I like to give credit.)

An explanation for the reporting change was offered in this IDPH press release:

Following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, beginning November 6, 2020 and going forward, IDPH will report confirmed cases and probable cases combined. A confirmed case is laboratory confirmed via molecular test. A probable case meets clinical criteria AND is epidemiologically linked, or has a positive antigen test. If a probable case is later confirmed, the case will be deduplicated and will only be counted once.

The problem arises because the state does not also report cases according to the former method, at least for a transitional period. As we try and decide whether we should ratchet up our collective panic-meters still another notch, it would be helpful to compare apples with apples. Here are the IDPH numbers since the last FWIW post on the subject:

It looks like the numbers were trending rapidly upwards before "probable" cases were added to the daily totals along with "confirmed" cases. So things really are getting worse. How much worse? We are about to start the ninth month of our two-week shutdown; that should be bad enough for anyone without any number fluffing....

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